Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia shared some of his keen insights Monday about the drubbing his party took last week in the commonwealth after Democrats emerged with full control of the General Assembly.
“The narrative now is, ‘Oh, abortion’s a loser. We gotta surrender on abortion. We gotta give in on abortion. We gotta be more like the Democrats on abortion, then maybe we could win elections,'” Good said at a Heritage Foundation event televised by C-Span.
Agreed—that’s the narrative, and not for nothing. The “red wave” of the 2022 midterms turned into a puddle of GOP tears on Election Day because of abortion. Earlier this year, Wisconsin Judge Janet Protasiewicz won election to the state Supreme Court, notching an 11-percentage-point victory in a swing state after abortion rights took center stage in the race. In reliably red Ohio, abortion rights prevailed not once but twice this year after voters first rejected Republican efforts to raise the threshold for passing ballot measures and then, last week, enshrined abortion rights in the constitution by a 13-point margin.
In Virginia’s elections, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made a concerted effort to find a winning strategy on abortion—sinking more than $1 million into a “15-week limit” ad campaign that flopped with voters. A ban is a ban, and last week, voters made sure Youngkin would be stripped of any power to enact such an abortion ban.
But Good had a peculiar takeaway from the GOP shellacking, explaining that actually, if Republicans had doubled down on a far more restrictive ban, they would have fared much better.
As Good described it, Republicans sent the message that “[w]e’re okay with 94% of abortions because we want a 15-week ban, and the Democrats, the other side, wants 100% of abortions. So we’re going to rally the red areas and the conservatives and the red base to fight for 6% of abortions, and I submit that’s the reason why we had low red turnout in Virginia.”
Never mind the fact that the mere prospect of new abortion bans has proven to be a single-issue Democratic turnout machine in successive elections.
Prior to the Virginia elections, polling showed that voters opposed Youngkin’s ban by a 15-point margin. In addition, nearly three-quarters of Virginia voters wanted to either maintain the status quo on abortion (49%) or make state law less restrictive (23%).
Just 24% of Virginia voters supported a more restrictive ban. That doesn’t even take into account what Good is proposing, which is something far more restrictive than Youngkin’s proposed 15-week ban.
So, absolutely—Republicans should double down on banning abortion and show voters their true colors. Because it’s very clear to those paying attention that Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion activists will never stop at a 15-week ban. Any Republican successes will immediately lead to further pushes for restrictions at 12 weeks and six weeks and eventually no weeks with no exceptions—no abortion access whatsoever.
Exactly as the nation’s premier anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, states on its website: “SBA Pro-Life America exists to end abortion …”
That position is the driving force behind every single Republican ban, and as Good suggested, Republicans shouldn’t mince words. They should be perfectly clear about their end goal with voters.